Belgraves Hotel: LondonFirst Look - A Hip-Star Hotel: Belgraves, London
This time, it’s the Brits who are warning, “the Americans are coming.” They’ve officially arrived, with the recent opening of the Belgraves, part of the New York-based Thompson Hotels. And just in time, too, for the long-live-the-Queen’s Jubilee Celebration and a little sporting event called the Summer Olympics. Set in the eponymous embassy-filled neighborhood, the Belgraves is a much-needed shot of bohemian cool in this tony diplomatic area.
No stuffy doorman here. You’re greeted by a plaid-clad lad, and a very attractive check-in staff. There’s definitely a “good-looking” requirement on their hiring list. London hotels are smaller than jewel boxes, so by comparison, the Belgraves’ rooms are grand. It’s a brand spanking new hotel, so don’t expect the “charming” touches, like stained carpets and peeling wallpaper, of old-school London boutique hotels. The Belgraves is solidly constructed with clean-lined wooden floors, sound-proofed rooms, and spotless bathrooms. We like the thoughtful details, like gourmet snacks you’d actually enjoy eating and the naughty intimacy kit from Coco de Mer in each room. We noted that the evening lighting in the chambers was dark, and this could be the reason why. Normal rates are under $300 or less for a standard room, and because they’re so new, they still have availability for the Olympics. And, even at the Olympic rates, the Belgraves won’t break your bank, like everything else in London surely will.
It wouldn’t qualify as a cool hotel unless it had a cool restaurant and bar. Chef Mark Hix has continued his London domination with an outpost of Hix Belgravia and Mark’s Bar. While not yet the frenzied scene of Hix Soho, we thought the food was actually better here. In Mark’s Bar, there’s even a secret garden terrace, where those partaking in a smoke are far more attractive than the burnouts of your high school days.
The best part of the hotel is Maurizio, the concierge who gives the hotel its street cred on fine service. We normally stay away from concierge recommendations, but not here: Maurizio will gauge your preferences and make suitable recommendations. For those who think they are far too cool and have their own wish list of private clubs and off-the-tourist-map restaurants in East London, Maurizio holds the keys to the kingdom. Forget five-star; the cool kids are all at the hip-star hotel.